He stared down at his three-week-old son in shock. The only child his wife had been able to conceive…the only child they would ever have…was dead. His son had been born premature three weeks before and the healers at St. Mungo's had warned him that his son might not survive. He hadn't wanted to believe them, but now his only child was dead.
Twin boys lay in the crib next to his son's crib. They both looked strong and healthy and about the same size as the lifeless child in his arms. Why did that family get two children while the only child his wife could have died?
The parents on those twins would get over the loss of one child when they had another that lived, but it would kill his wife to lose this child and he didn't want to lose her too. Glancing around, he realized that no one knew that the small baby in his arms was not breathing. That was it! Making sure that no one was watching, he switched the child in his arms with one of the sleeping twins. With some quick wand work, the appearances of the switched children changed. There! It was done!
He placed the newborn that had replaced his son in the crib and covered him lightly with the blanket that his wife had made. "Sleep well, little dragon," he whispered before slipping from the St. Mungo's nursery, having never once glanced at the name on the other crib: Potter.
The headmaster sighed deeply and looked across his desk at the Potions Master. "You are positive the results are accurate, Severus?" He trusted the younger man, but this news was very hard to believe.
Snape nodded, slouching in his chair. "It was the simplest of that type of potion. I tested it myself later. They brewed it properly."
"And they know nothing?"
"Nothing," the younger man sighed. "I used some slight of hand and switched the vials when I saw what was happening. What are you going to do about this, Albus?"
Dumbledore got up and walked over to where his phoenix rested on its perch, gently stroking the bird's feathers. He was silent for several minutes before answering. "I need you to go to Lucius, my boy, and find out what he knows. He and his wife are the only ones who can answer our questions. But you'll need to make sure he remembers nothing after you question him. If that information falls into the wrong hands it could be dangerous."
"I'll go talk to him as soon as we finish here. But what of the boys? Do you plan to tell them?" He caught the older man's eye and shook his head. "Of course you don't. Those two boys have every right to know, old man."
He turned to face the younger man. "I don't see any need to tell them right now, Severus."
"You don't see any need? Last night while Potter was fighting Quirrell, Crabbe and Goyle brought Draco to my quarters. The boy had a blinding headache. I convinced those two idiots to leave him with me and shortly after they left, he passed out in my arms. Best I can figure that was at the same time you found Potter in the same condition. You can't keep this from them!"
The headmaster sat back down and considered it for several minutes. "Young Malfoy is your godson, is he not?" Snape merely nodded. "And he spends some weeks with you every summer?"
Again the younger man nodded, exhausted after sitting up all night with his young godson trying to calm the boy down and convince him that he wasn't dying and needed to go back to sleep. The boy had a flair for the dramatic. He looked up at his mentor. "Are you suggesting that I bring Potter to my house while Draco is there and tell them then?"
"If you think they should know, then I leave it to you to tell them how you will. But Severus…the charade must continue, no matter what."
The Potions Master stood and left the room, slamming the door as he went.